Yes, some "1995 CD" runs used the Au20 remaster, and the Zappa Patio tried to offer advise on how to tell the old from the new by looking at - not listening to - the discs. 
   The advice focused on "matrix numbers", the little numbers around the rim of the hole in the disc (so known since the LP era).
   But soon, people started mailing in exceptions to every rule about these matrix numbers. It has now reached a point where the only method we can recommend is listening to the discs, and so we have removed all references to matrix numbers from the page.
article on the quad version
by the Duke of Prunes
(Below) Russian LP with Over-Nite Sensation cover. Black back cover with track list & credits in Russian & English.

Apostrophe (')

What to Get: The 2012 CD should suit most people.

Summary: There are three basic versions of Apostrophe:

1) the original mix used on the original LP
2) a Quadraphonic version used on the Quadraphonic vinyl and tape formats in the 1970s
3) a stereo reduction made from the above.

The original LP mix is used on the Au20 CD, some copies of the 1995 Rykodisc CD, and the 2012 UMe reissue. The "stereo reduction" is on all other CDs, while the original Quad mix has not, as of 2012, been reissued in any form.

ESSENTIAL VERSIONS FOR COMPLETISTS: Tricky. Something with the CD remix (old CD, or original pressing of the 1995 CD), plus something with the vinyl mix (the 2012 CD, an LP, an Au20 CD, or an old-mix pressing of 1995 CD). However, the CD remix comes in three distinct flavors; really crazy completists may need more than one. If you're an ultra-completist, you'll dream about a quadraphonic copy (rare). [completist's guide]

Issues (by release)

  • Original vinyl (DiscReet DS2175 in the US (not MS2175?), DS2175 in Canada, K 59201 in the UK, April 22 1974) - originally planned with a different cover, which was never released
  • Cassettes (DiscReet CDX-2175 in the US; DiscReet M 5-D 2175 somewhere)
  • 8-track (Warner/DiscReet no-cover-art issue)
  • Quadraphonic vinyl (Warner Bros / DiscReet DS4-2175 (CD4 format), 1974)
  • Quadraphonic tape (DiscReet DIS L9D-2175 (Q8 format))
  • Quadraphonic reel-to-reel tape (?)
  • French & German vinyl (DiscReet 59201 (?))
  • Italian vinyls (Discreet K 59201, 1974, & W 59201, 1975?)
  • Spanish vinyl (Reprise HRES 291-61, 1974, distributed by Hispavox; square Reprise logo on back cover)
  • German vinyl (WEA DiscReet 59201-Z)
  • Dutch vinyl (DiscReet DIS 59 201 Y, matrix number 31690)
  • Swedish vinyl? (DiscReet DS 2175)
  • Japanese vinyl (DiscReet P-8467D, white-label promo also reported)
  • Greek vinyl (Warner Brothers Greek label 59201, 1974)
  • Russian vinyl (30271?)
  • Russian vinyl with Over-Nite Sensation cover (n93-00700 ATR 30272, early '90s)
  • Taiwanese vinyl (possibly unauthorised, with Chinese print on the back cover and labels)
  • Argentine vinyl (MusicHall 50-14.113 - Warner Brothers WB 14113 white-label promos also issued)
  • Uruguayan vinyl (Cave label (Warner Brothers WB 113035 also suggested))
  • Brazilian vinyl
  • Australian vinyl (DiscReet DS 2175, 1974)
  • New Zealand vinyl (DiscReet RS 2175, 1974, black & white back cover)
  • US vinyl re-issue (DiscReet DSK 2289 (?), 1977, brown Reprise label!)
  • The Old Masters vinyl (Barking Pumpkin BPR 9999-4, December 1987) (uses the remix?)
  • Original CD, coupled with Over-Nite Sensation (Ryko RCD40025 in the US, September 1986; Zappa Records CDZAP18 in the UK, March 1990; VACK 5034 in Japan; Ryko D31036 in Australia, 1990; JPCD 9707412 DORA in Russia.) (uses the remix)
  • Zappa Records cassette (TZAPPA18) (uses the remix)
  • Minidisc, coupled with Over-Nite Sensation (Ryko RMD40025) (uses the remix)
  • 1995 CD (Ryko RCD 10519, April 18 1995; VACK 5108 in Japan, renumbered 5243 in 1998; also in a BMG Record Club version (1086362))
  • 1995 cassette (Ryko RAC 10519, April 18 1995; also in a BMG Record Club version (1086362)) (uses the remix)
  • Audiophile Au20 gold CD (Ryko RCD 80519, July 2 1996; VACK 5285 in Japan)
  • "1998 CD" (Ryko RCD 10519, 1998?)
  • Japanese paper-sleeve CD (Ryko/VACK 1218, October 24 2001 - lyric sheet insert) (uses the remix)
  • 2012 UMe CD (Zappa Records ZR3851 August 28, 2012)

Issues (by version)

  • Original Vinyl Mix: All LP versions, except (perhaps...we're not sure) for the Old Masters LP. All cassettes prior to TZappa18. Ryko Au20 CD, and mispressed versions of the Ryko 1995 CD.
  • Quadraphonic mix: Quadraphonic Tape and LP.
  • Remix derived from Quadraphonic mix: Old Masters LP (maybe...can someone confirm?), Ryko two-fer CD, Zappa Records two-fer CD, and Ryko 1995 CD; also, all cassettes since TZappa18.

And on the weird side, parts of this album seem to have been issued in Poland as a set of flexi-disc postcards.

Original Vinyl

DIFFERENT FROM: the original CD and most runs of the 1995 CD
IDENTICAL TO: the Au20 gold CD and specific runs of the 1995 CD ("1998 CD")

From Anzoh Hay:

Only this evening, after owning Apostrophe (') for 21 years, I discovered that on the label of the record it's spelled "A'POS! TRO'PHE(!)". On the Ryko '95 reissue it's not there anymore.

(Also, the "Produced, arranged and struggled with" credit from the vinyl is only in the booklet of the 1995 CD package, not on the back cover which only has "Produced". The vinyl, however, does of course not have the credit "Credit, humorous, circa 1974" which was added for the Old Masters re-release and kept on CDs.)

From Juha Sarkkinen:

Some of the original US LPs included a biography as an attachment.

Reprise labels:

VADIM RYBAKOV: I have A'pos! tro'phe(!)'s first USA edition with DiscReet numbers, but Reprise label. The number on the label and on the sleeve cover is DSK (2234? - maybe I'm wrong, because I haven't the record with me today), but around the label there is an MS2175 number, but it is striked out. A DSK number is around the label too.

MIKAEL AGARDSSON: According to Torchum #4, there are Brazilian, Spanish, New Zealandic and Sweden issues with the Reprise label, but it doesn't mention an American issue with Reprise label. Personally, I think it's a re-issue, not an original.

GOOD KING ZOG: Both Apostrophe (') & Overnite Sensation were re-issued in 1977 on the brown-coloured Reprise label. I have the re-issue of Overnite Sensation, which is the same as the original pressing in all respects, except for the Reprise label & different catalogue number of DSK 2288. I don't have the 1989 Goldmine article (where these are mentioned) handy, but you'd think that Apostrophe (') bore the catalogue of DSK 2289 (?) ...

(The front cover started out slightly different, but that version wasn't released. Read all about it in the Weirdo Discography.)


From Hasi:

There are at least two different vinyl issues of Apostrophe (') from Italy:

1) Discreet K 59201, 1974: The label is headlined "A'POS ! TRO'PHE (!)" and has "MADE IN ITALY BY DISCHI RICORDI S.p.A." The stamped matrix number has (beside the catalogue number) "28/2/74". The back cover has "DISTRIBUZIONE DISCHI RICORDI S.p.A. MADE IN ITALY". Lyric sheet included.
2) Discreet W 59201, 1974 (1975 ?): The label is headlined "APOSTROPHE'" and has "MADE IN ITALY BY WEA ITALIANA". The stamped matrix number has (beside the catalogue number) "12/7/75". The back cover has "Made and distributed in Italy by Wea Italiana S.p.A. Milano". The cover is printed by La Grafica Cremonese, Italy. There is no lyric sheet included (with my copy, but I bought it used).

The labels of both issues say (P) 1974, but I think that the matrix number "rules".


From Harry de Swart:

My LPs of Apostrophe (') and The Grand Wazoo have a German sleeve (made in Germany by Kinney Music), but have a Dutch label (made in Holland by NV Negram-Haarlem), and that's the way I bought them.


From Peter Íberg:

I have an odd vinyl issue of Apostrophe ('), with a brown Reprise label and lyrics on the inner sleeve. The cover says "manufactured in US. DS 2175" but also "SIB tryck Tumba", so at least the cover is printed in Sweden. But the weird thing is that this Apostrophe (') has a Reprise label - all other editions I've seen have the yellow DiscReet label. So this was on DiscReet but probably distributed by Reprise.

Japanesea detail of the lyric sheet from the Japanese LP, courtesy of Mikael Agardsson

From Mikael Agardsson:

The special thing about this issue is the lyric sheet, which is unique. OK, mine is a promo edition, but the regular version would have to have the lyric sheet too? All the illustrations were made by Yasauo Yagi.

This lyric sheet is shock-full of really weird illustrations. Each song is illustrated with a big drawing or in comic-strip form.


From Graham Halliday:

It has a paper & plastic cover, colour front, black & white back, no spine, blue & silver label credited to FRAN ZAPPA [sic], the sound quality is great, about the same as the original, I have the I think Australian/American one. It also has no mention of DiscReet except the carvings of catalogue numbers where it is exactly hte same just with the new # on it, so it appears to be the exact same pressing, it does skip a bit every once in a while, slightly wonky, also about 1 cm smaller the normal one.

Also, the front cover is slightly different - the picture is "zoomed in" a little bit more. 


From Michael J Popil:

[DiscReet CDX-2175] Pu***ased in Vancouver approximately 1980 ... The cassette version has no guitar solo in "Stinkfoot". Sides 1 and 2 follow album sequence.

QuadraphonicDIS L9D 2175

Quadraphonic sound was a four-channel sound system which never caught on and was soon abandoned. As of July 2000, we have a great article by the Duke of Prunes on the quad versions of both Apostrophe (') and Over-Nite Sensation which straightens out most of the question marks around. For a brief summary, the Duke says that 

  • there are no substantive musical differences between the quad version and the 1995 CD, but
  • the vinyl and Au20/1998 CDs have a different edit, which could be called substantively different (the Duke is just being precise); 
  • the 1995 CD is probably a stereo mixdown of the quad release; 
  • Zappa used quad sparingly to subtle effect, except in a few obvious places; and
  • the mixes are definitely true quad mixes. [full article - recommended reading!]


And from Daevid:

I had 8-tracks of both [albums]. Listening to the rear channels only, you could hear some of the music, but mostly backing vocals isolated to one or two singers. I guess those were the Ikettes. I couldn't hear rear vocals on the front channels. So, rather than saying the rear channels were ambience only, I say they held a lot of unique pieces of the music.

Remix (derived from the Quadraphonic mix)

Since at least the Rykodisc two-fer reissue in 1986, the primary version of Apostrophe on CD has been a remix, likely derived from the quadraphonic mix. This remix has shown up on three different CDs (and maybe the Old Masters vinyl), as well as on associated cassettes. While originally thought to be an easy, cut-and-dried case, it turns out that all three versions of the remix sound very different.

First, the major differences of the remix:

  • In general, the CD mix has an "airier" feel … Zappa's vocals have some reverb on them. This can be heard in "Cosmik Debris", "Nanook Rubs It", and a few other places. [Edit: This reverb varies depending on the release]
  • As stated elsewhere, there is an extra measure in the CD mix of "Yellow Snow" … 'sides that, the mixes on that and "Nanook Rubs It" seem to be quite similar. 
  • Also as stated elsewhere, "Excentrifugal Forz" is mixed a bit differently on the CD. This is most obvious during the instrumental introduction, which features a less prominent violin and a more prominent guitar melody.
  • "Uncle Remus" is mixed very oddly on the LP. The remix spaces the elements out a bit, and also snips a portion out of the ending guitar solo.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew discusses "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" and "Uncle Remus":

... in "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow", Zappa sings "Dreamed I was an Eskimo", then there is one measure (in 7/8 time) of guitar spewage, followed by the two-bar instrumental riff alone, followed by a repeat of the riff with the "doop-doop-do-do-do" vocal over it, then the next lyric line. The stereo LP (and the gold CD, which uses the original LP master) does not include the instrumental riff between the spewage and the "doop-doop" (so it's actually two bars we're talking about, unless you count the song in 7/4).

[Those extra bars in "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow" appeared as early as on the 4-channel Quadraphonic version in the 1970s.]

The last lyric line [in "Uncle Remus"] ("Down in de dew") occurs in bar 46. On the original version on the Apostrophe (') LP, Zappa solos for approximately 11 further bars ("approximately" because it fades out in the middle of a bar). The version on both the Ryko twofer CD and the 1995 reissue CD deletes bars 49 and 50 and also segues into "Stinkfoot" more quickly

Three different CDs utilize this mix: the original Ryko two-fer CD, the Zappa Records 1990 two-fer CD, and the Ryko 1995 reissue CD. All have slightly different variations on the remix, and sound quite different. Details are given below.

[For those who are audiologically inclined, here's a quick MP3 sample of three different versions of the remix. The first clip is the Ryko two-fer, the second is the Zappa Records two-fer, and the third is the standard 1995 CD].

Original Rykodisc CD (coupled with Over-Nite Sensation)

The original Rykodisc CD version of Apostrophe ('), released in the US in 1986, was coupled with Over-Nite Sensation - two albums on one CD. This was the remixed version of Apostrophe ('). Some artwork from the vinyl was apparently also missing, but this was restored on the 1995 re-issue.

As with the other 1986 Rykodisc Zappa releases, Apostrophe (')/Over-Nite Sensation was mastered very quietly, and takes advantage of about half of the possible dynamic range. James Lee Robinson elaborates:

Is it just me or is the sound quality of the Apostrophe (') / Over-Nite Sensation disc substandard? Is is just because it is mastered at a lower volume than other discs (for example Make a Jazz Noise Here)? I noticed this through having my disc changer shuffle a 6-pack of Zappa, and this disc suffered noticably. Anyone else bugged by this? How does the LP version sound? Any other re-releases with the same "problem"?

From Vladimir Sovetov:

Yes, the sound volume of my Apostrophe (') /Over-Nite Sensation Ryko disc is also noticeably lower than volume of my other CDs. Freak Out!, Chunga, Zoot Allures etc. The sound volume of the ' LP (I still have one) seems to be as good as of my One Size Fits All and Weasels Ripped My Flesh LPs.

Zappa Records CD (coupled with Over-Nite Sensation)

In 1990, a Zappa Records version of the two-albums-on-one-CD package debuted in Europe. It sports a few differences in artwork (in particular, the front cover announces a "U.M.R.K Digital Remix," as do some other CDs in this Zappa Records series) and is not the same as the Ryko disc. There is less reverb on this version, much different EQ, and the overall presentation is louder; listen to the mp3 sample above for a comparison between the three versions of the remix.

The lack of reverb on this disc would normally make it the "preferred" version of the remix on CD. Unfortunately, the Zappa Records version also introduces the "bad-batch" glitches, including a wavering stereo image and an inconsistent right channel, and some odd digital clipping. Some tracks are worse than others (e.g. Cosmik Debriz). Tread lightly.


the APOSTROPHE (') / OVER-NITE SENSATION minidisc coverThe only Zappa albums that ever came out on the minidisc format were Over-Nite Sensation coupled with Apostrophe (') (on one disc), and it's just like the original CD, but in minidisc quality, which is worse, because the disc is so small that the audio data has to be compressed to fit on it, with a lossy compression scheme. Presumably, this uses the 1986 Ryko digital master.

Ryko 1995 CD Reissue

Ryko's 1995 CD reissue uses the remix of Apostrophe; it also restores some artwork. Sound-wise, it's closer to the original Ryko CD than to the Zappa Records CD. There is one major difference: thanks either to the EQ used on this disc or some extra processing, it sounds like there's even more digital reverb on this disc. Check the MP3 link above to hear the difference.

AT SOME POINT, the master used to create the standard 1995 CD was briefly swapped with the master used to create the audiophile, Au20 gold disc, which uses to the vinyl mix. We used to have a whole guide here about how to tell the difference between issues, but there were so many exceptions (mostly involving matrix numbers) that we've dropped the discussion. See below for a write-up on the Au20 disc.

(The people who discovered that there were two different versions of the 1995 CD were David G., Biffy the Elephant Shrew and Bill Harper. Respect! Other people involved were Ryan Davenport and Dan Watkins. Charlies Ulrich told me it had reverted back to the remix.)

PS: In May 2000, Cal Schenkel had been in touch with Ryko, I think, and had this to report:

Nobody seems to know anything about the Au20 swap, SO DON'T EVER MENTION IT AGAIN!

Audiophile Au20 Gold CD

IDENTICAL TO: the vinyl and some runs of the 1995 CD
DIFFERENT FROM: the original CD and early runs of the 1995 CD

Ryko issued Apostrophe (') and One Size Fits All, in "limited" (numbered) editions, as expensive audiophile gold CDs - the discs used gold instead of aluminum. You may want to argue that gold itself would not make a compact disc sound that much better, but both discs were made from improved master tapes and sound much better (on good equipment). The gold may be mostly a gimmick to warrant the higher price necessitated by the major time and effort spent to prepare an extremely good master. The master used for this CD was of the original vinyl mix, not the remix that was on the original CD, the Zappa Records CD, and the most runs of the 1995 CD. Some time after this gold CD came out, Ryko switched to using this same master for new runs of their 1995 CD.

From Pieter van Vollenhoven:

The Au20 CD was mastered from the original dolby A master tapes. Playback was through a specially enhanced Ampex ATR-102 using audio cards by J. Musgrave and courtesy of the Complex [?] recording studios. No equalization, compression, limiting or any other "enhancement" of any kind was added during the transfer.

The analog-to-digital conversion was done through a dB technologies AD122 converter in the 20-bit mode, directly to the hard disk of the Sonic Solutions digital mastering workstation.

Once edited in the final form the program was transferred through the Sony super-bitmapping process integrated into the sonic system. This noise-shaping process allows the music to be captured in 16 bits while maintaining the optional signal to noise equivalent of 20 bits. This superbitmapped master was then used in the production of the Au20 CD.

From Michael Nickel:

Has anybody noticed that the cover of the two Au20 gold versions have exact the same booklets as the regular Ryko versions? (Take a look at the booklet numbers)

glitch on gold CD

DAN WATKINS: I was listening to my Au20 CD of Apostrophe (yeah, screw anyone who bought the regular CD after the Au20 switch) and noticed something weird right at the beginning of "Cosmik Debris". Right before the 00:01 mark, there's a weird tape warp or something. I compared this to the '95 CD, and it isn't there. Anyone else notice this? I'm sure that this isn't something that just happened on my CD.

ZOMBY WOOF: Please detail the symptom ... is it like a "this tape has been eaten" sound?

DAN WATKINS: Yeah, it's like the speed changes for a quick nanosecond. I've never noticed this on any other copy of the album. I went back and checked the LP, and I don't hear it there either. Maybe it's just the way that guitar note is played, and the clarity of the Au20 CD is letting me hear it for the first time? I don't know. It just sounds kind of funny.

BIFFY THE ELEPHANT SHREW: I finally got around to checking this. Yep, it's there.

LEWIS SAUL: I don't hear it. What are you talking about? I hear George laughing at the end of "O'Blivion" and then "Cosmik" kicks in - I don't hear any tape warp.

LEWIS SAUL (A LITTLE LATER): Never mind. I hear it now. Weird. [Ed: This has been fixed on the 2012 CD]

Japanese Paper-Sleeve Version (2001-2002)

Starting in 2001, Video Arts Music released a limited-edition series (2000 copies each) of Zappa CDs in paper sleeves - miniature LP sleeves. There was nothing special about this series other than the covers, which were very well done - inserts and "bonuses" were reproduced, the albums that originally had gatefold covers got little miniature gatefolds, and cover track lists were exactly as on the corresponding LPs, even in cases where the CD has bonus tracks or a different track order. Included in this series were some entries that never had "proper" LP issues, i.e. Läther. Additionally, some rarities--like the "green/gold" cover of Chunga's Revenge--were reproduced as special items in this run.

We need to stress that the sound quality of these discs matches the US Ryko issues, which they are clearly derived from. These are collectors items, not new remastered editions.

Late-2012-update: It appears as if the Japanese may be warming up the mini-LP ovens for a new batch based on the 2012 UMe remasters. We'll let you know if this happens.

Paul Christie writes:

I can report that the Japanese paper sleeve edition of Apostrophe is not the AU20 mix - I have both, and there are substantial differences between the mixes, including the different track lengths etc. The Japanese version is the same as the widely available current Ryko silver CD.

2012 UMe CD

Mastered from the original analog master by Doug Sax with Robert Hadley & Sangwook "Sunny" Nam at The Mastering Lab, Inc., 2012. Reviews are positive so far, and the new transfer fixes the one big glitch from the Au20 CD. From Pittylabelle:

In the case of "Apostrophe (') the better sounding Au20 CD has a weird tape warp or something right at the beginning of "Cosmik Debris", right before the 00:01 mark - but this is not on previous CDs like the 1995 Ryko CD.

The good news: This tape warp is NOT present on the new UMe 2012 CD.

Myourself identifies two oddities in the packaging:

FATHER O'BLIVION is missing the apostrophe (now making it FATHER OBLIVION) two times in the packaging. in gz's 'note' the (') is included. Also, the Ryko version of Apostrophe (') had the lyrics printed, the new version does not.


  • Any points to make about the Old Masters version?
  • Any details on the Russian CD?
  • Was there an MS2175 vinyl?
  • Can someone confirm that all "modern-era" cassettes use the remix?

Additional Informants

  • Biffy the Elephant Shrew
  • Victor Dubiler
  • Webdaddy
  • Gonšalo
  • Steve Jones
  • Scott
  • Christof Ha▀linger
  • Patrick Neve, Dave P Jones (Russian LP)
  • Douglas Miller, Australia

home - vinyl vs CDs - weirdo discography - bootlegs - misc - hot lynx - e-mail us at zappa dot patio at gmail dot com 2006-04-22 20:02

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